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The Diggers Rest Hotel

(Charlie Berlin #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  802 ratings  ·  101 reviews
In 1947, two years after witnessing the death of a young Jewish woman in Poland, Charlie Berlin has rejoined the police force a different man. Sent to investigate a spate of robberies in rural Victoria, he soon discovers that World War II has changed even the most ordinary of places and people.

An ex-bomber pilot and former POW, Berlin is struggling to fit back in: grapplin
Paperback, 316 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Penguin
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this historical mystery set in 1940s Wodonga. The Australian setting was well done as was the description of post war country side Victoria and the way ordinary people were affected by the war. DC Berlin is a very interesting character who is dealing with the atrocities he himself witnessed in his time as a fighter pilot and as a POW. Despite it all he has the makings of an excellent policeman, fair but not unbending, smart and quick to pick up on clues. I liked him very much an ...more

I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in Geoffrey McGeachin's Charlie Berlin series. Set just after WW2 in 1947, Charlie is a returned pilot and POW. Clearly suffering PTSD as a result of losing his plane and crew on a bombing raid to Berlin followed by the atrocities he experienced and saw as a POW, he struggles with nightmares, flashbacks and occasional blackouts. He has returned to his previous career as a police detective in Melbourne and in this novel is sent to Wodonga in country Victoria t
I thought I would enjoy this a bit more than I did, and that's probably because the PTSD and war memories were more plentiful than I was expecting. It made the mystery a bit slower to play out.

Small town crime stories don't leave too much room for players so they characterise pretty well, and this was no different. Charlie's a pretty typical 'cop trying to forget the trauma of his past' but hey, here's a pretty woman to help him with that.

The mystery was intriguing, though a little slow as ment
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Diggers Rest Hotel is the first Charlie Berlin Mystery by Australian author, Geoffrey McGeachin. It is 1947, and ex-bomber pilot, Charlie Berlin has returned from the war bodily (if not psychologically) intact to resume his police career. DC Berlin, now 27 years old, is a bit of a loner, a misfit, still subject to blackouts, nightmares and flashbacks, a legacy of his time as a pilot and POW. His boss sends him to Wodonga to investigate a series of payroll robberies that have left local polic ...more
☼♄Jülie 
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to ☼♄Jülie  by: NetGalley

The Diggers Rest Hotel

I thought the story was a bit slow to start and worried that it was going to be hard work, then it started to pick up pace and I began to enjoy the way it was unfolding.
Given that it is the first book in a new series I figured it was laying the necessary groundwork and setting up character profiles for the follow on books.

Set in post WW2 Australia, in country, Albury - Wodonga 1947.

DC Charlie Berlin is a likable character but a bit emotionally damaged from his recent war s
I have to admit that I started reading this novel with some trepidation. Historical crime fiction has never been a favourite of mine. I always found the genre a bit like Enid Blyton for grown-ups, with lashings of sentimentality and moral fibre. However, somewhere amongst the pages of this book I was turned. This book became my very own time machine. Each evening as I read, I was transported back to post-war 1940s rural Australia.

The two world wars had scarred Australia. Rationing lead to thrift
This story featuring a detective named Berlin went nowhere. It is set in Australia after WWII. Berlin goes to a small town to investigate a series of armed robberies by a motorcycle gang. Then a 16 year old girl is murdered. Instead of hearing details about the crimes, it seemed most of this book describes how macho these Aussie men are, how much they fight and goes on and on about the war. So little was spent on investigating the crimes. In the end, Berlin barely had to do anything to find the ...more
May 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
It's always interesting to see a favoured author head off in another direction, and THE DIGGERS REST HOTEL is a big directional switch for Geoffrey McGeachin. Moving away from the madcap all-Australian James Bond of the Alby Murdoch books, we are introduced to a new character, a new timeframe and a very different approach.

Set in post World War II Victoria THE DIGGERS REST HOTEL introduces Charlie Berlin. A pilot during the war, back to the police on his return, Charlie is deeply traumatised. Sen
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this story of Charlie Berlin, a recently returned fighter pilot from WW2 still suffering from the trauma experienced, settling back into his job as a detective constable. He is sent to Albury Wodonga to investigate a series of robberies. The murder of a young Chinese girl turns the heat up in his investigations. Throughout this he meets Rebecca, a young lady determined to carve out a career as a photo journalist. The development of this relationship is wonderfully realised b ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Diggers Rest Hotel is book one of the Charlie Berlin series by Geoffrey McGeachin. One morning Detective Constable Charlie Berlin came to work and was dispatch to Albury/Wodonga straight away with only the case file to stop the group who is robbing trains. However, Detective Constable Charlie Berlin started to think he was sent to investigate the robberies to fail. The readers of The Diggers Rest Hotel will follow the twist and turns in Detective Constable Charlie Berlin investigation into t ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book full of evocative scenes that really brought post-war Australia alive for me. It was refreshing to read a period piece that had no political correctness outside of the era, no anomalous references. The crimes are of their time. The action is not that of a block-buster (thank goodness). Thoroughly enjoyed the setting, characters, writing, plot and ending. I'll be looking for McGeachin's other books featuring Charlie Berlin, copper and returned WWII airman - Black Wattle Creek and St Kilda ...more
A thoroughly entertaining audio version of the novel presented a range of interesting characters, a not-too-obvious plot and an unexpected but sensitively rendered air of pathos. Although crime fiction is not usually my preferred genre this expertly delivered audio version by Peter Byrne was the perfect accompaniment on a recent road trip Outback and I look forward to meeting Charlie Berlin again in Black Wattle Creek.
I kind of liked this, but it probably paled against another book that I was reading at the time - also a police procedural set in rural Victoria with a male protagonist investigating a crime while fighting his own demons, but in a contemporary setting. In comparison, this one seemed a little washed out and less gripping.

It is also possible that my opinion of this book suffered a little because of how I read it - it was my ebook for reading while on the treadmill at the gym, so therefore, I was o
I found this to be an enjoyable historical mystery. First in a series featuring a Melbourne detective constable and set in 1947, I really liked the Australian location, the time period, and the characters. The plotting in the book was fine and the narration by Peter Byrne was very good.
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing

I first read this novel long enough ago for me to have forgotten the finer plot details. Peter Byrne's narration is solidly done, but it is the author's detailed descriptions that place the reader firmly in post-war rural Victoria. McGeachin takes great pains to mention items and events which put us just after World War II.

In some ways Charlie Berlin is still suffering post-war trauma - events from his experience as a P.O.W. and as a bomber pilot keep sending him reminders. Wodonga is a country
Anne Fenn
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Set in Wodonga of all places. Interesting angle of post WW1 world. Too much product placement and past history but otherwise entertaining.
Jack Heath
Synopsis: after WW2, Charlie rejoined the police force a different man. Investigating robberies in rural Victoria, he asks, Am I being set-up to fail?
Rhonda Powling
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
The late 1940's era in Australia is well described in this crime novel, the first in a series about WWII returned POW Charlie Berlin.
The hero of The Diggers Rest Hotel, Charlie, is a detective and a flawed hero. He is barely coping with post-traumatic stress as a result of his war years. He was a bomber pilot then POW in Germany during World War II. Charlie works out of Russell Street police station and doesn't fit in with the rest of the detectives. When not at work he is a recluse, living in
Bruce McNair
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of crime/mystery
It's 1947 and Charlie Berlin is an ex WW2 bomber pilot who spent some time as a POW in German controlled Poland. He is still haunted by his war experiences. But he is also a cop who is also haunted by the horrors of his police duties. He draws the last straw to investigate a spate of robberies in country Victoria. During his investigations, a young girl is found murdered and Berlin is told to stay on and solve both cases. The plot seems to get bogged down as Berlin is stymied in every direction. ...more
Selena Hanet-Hutchins
Jul 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
When I was away from this book (due to leaving it behind when I was staying away from home) I was thinking about it a lot, and especially the depth of characterisation of Charlie Berlin. When I finally finished it I wanted to read another one, or keep going somehow, even though the mystery had been solved, in the 1940s present and in Charlie's past. Charlie is the measure of the success of this book; to me, at least, he felt very real. McGeachin's skill is at showing just enough of Charlie for u ...more
Steph (loves water)
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, australia
****Review of audiobook****

This was very well done. I haven't listened to an audiobook in 15+ years. This was the only book available through ILL, and I listened to it every chance I could get. Listening to the descriptive paragraphs of the war and its aftermath were powerful and intense, probably because I couldn't skim over them as I do with a paper book. As a result, this was a well written book, with a decent narrator, and well developed characters. I look forward to the next Charlie Berlin
A great detective story. Broken men who are trying to make something of their lives after WWII. A Victorian region that is seeing a spate of robberies. The local culture consists of beer drinking, fighting and the football.

DC Charlie Berlin is sent from Melbourne to solve the crimes. He is the broken of broken men. He knows he is damaged but he can't get away from blood, violence and death. He is a great character.
Elaine Mayes
Excellent! This novel is set in a rural area of Australia just after WWII. Charlie Berlin was the bomber pilot who is shot down and sent to a concentration camp in Poland. Eventually he returns to his job as a detective. He has terrible nightmares and daymares, but he perseveres in his investigation first of bank robberies and then of a murder. The cast of characters is great, the sense of place is great and the plot interesting. Well worth your reading/listening time.
Kaye Stambaugh
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Post WWII, Melbourne-based DC Charlie Berlin is sent to the Australian bush of Albury-Wodonga to investigate a series of robberies that are eluding the local police. No cocky city detective, this war former bomber pilot and POW is sadly damaged by his war experiences and is simply trying to cope day-to-day. This was a decent mystery but the characters and setting really make the book. This is the first in the Charlie Berlin series and I'm looking forward to reading the next book.
Mar 11, 2015 rated it liked it
A fast moving thriller. Detective Charlie Berlin's tragic past shadows him always leaving us on edge as to how he my react in some situations. Good writing, strong characters and interesting story lines what more could you want from a crime thriller. I look forward to reading more Charlie Berlin stories.
Gail P
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-novel
This is a post WW II novel and shows the depression that followed the great war. I found it interesting and reminded me of books of other Austrailian authors.
Ben Sheafor
May 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Not very impressed. Didn't know half the words bc I'm unfamiliar with Australian lingo. Very slow progress, suspense was low.
May 23, 2015 added it
A great introduction to another excellent Australain crime figure.
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: j-2016_goal-33
A quick fast reading 'whodunnit'
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is the second book in as many weeks I have made DNF at around 80%, though for different reasons. With this one I was too bored to go on.

It started out with promise. Australia, post WWII, old airplanes, protagonist trying to find his way after the war, an unwanted assignment to the boondocks he wasn't prepared for, a possibly interesting side-kick. A new-to-me mystery series with solid reviews.

I don't know what happened, but I got more and more frustrated, detached, and as I said, bored, a
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Melbourne-born Geoff McGeachin has spent much of his life shooting pictures for advertising, travel, theatre and feature films. His work has taken him all over the world including stints living in Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong. He is now based in Sydney, where he teaches photography and writes.

His first novel, FAT, FIFTY & F***ED! won the inaugural AUSTRALIAN POPULAR FICTION COMPETITION and

Other books in the series

Charlie Berlin (3 books)
  • Blackwattle Creek (Charlie Berlin, #2)
  • St Kilda Blues (Charlie Berlin, #3)

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